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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Single-eyed Object

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As we become more aware and understanding of the sinful nature we must also realize our Father’s conclusion concerning it, which is that He is for the present satisfied in the Cross of Christ concerning its being in the believer, thus we are to be encouraged concerning the knowledge of its “condemnation” in us (Rom 8:3), for this clears His side of the evil—from our old man to the Cross, providing us with the pleasure of our “acceptance” concerning it (Eph 1:6).

- NC




Single-eyed Object


Every believer owns that his sins could not be remitted but through the shed Blood of Christ. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission”; but there is a want of clarity in almost everyone as to the way in which the flesh—its will, that actual principle that works it—is set aside.


Every conscientious believer admits that not an atom of the offensive thing can go into the Father’s presence; and strange and numerous are the expedients adopted to get rid of, or eliminate this troubler. From purgatory up to devotional efforts, there is the avowed desire to get clear of the sinful old man. The conscientious must desire, for a two-fold reason (though he might not be able to say so), to get rid of the rule of the flesh.


Every believer admits that he has committed, and does commit, sins; that even “the thought of foolishness is sin” (Pro 24:9); but while he seeks to have an untroubled conscience with regard to himself, he has not real freedom before God. It is simply because he does not see how the Cross removed the old man from the eye of God. Hence, he must, according to his light, resort to some method by which this grievous thing in him may be extinguished.


A Romanist thinks he can reach that by penance here, and purgatory hereafter, and this in itself is an admission that there is no use in being forgiven the fruit of the flesh, unless the root of it be reached. I only refer to the Romanist, because there is with him such an imitation, or counterfeit, of the real thing; for the truly conscientious is not merely satisfied that there is forgiveness of his actual sin, but he requires that there should be judgment on the parent flesh itself.


I am not only forgiven, but I see the enormity of my transgressions in the ashes—the token of the accomplished judgment which Christ bore on the Cross. The remembrance of this judgment is brought to me by the Spirit of Christ.


Another looks for perfection in the flesh, so that with him forgiveness is not enough; but he expects, through the work of the Spirit, to be improved, which really means to convert the bad into good; and this is called sanctification. But with this doctrine, as a necessity, it is held that if the flesh breaks out again, there is no conversion at all; and that the one who was regarded as a child of God today is, when he sins, no longer so, but a child of the devil.


The ritualist proposes to propagate through the elements of Christ’s death, and altered nature in himself. Holiness by faith is another from in which some believers seek to escape from the flesh in its principle, after they have received the forgiveness of sins. The doctrine of surrender of the will is an offshoot of this; while another form, very specious, but more disguised and pernicious, in proportion to is secrecy, is the sentimental delight which leads one to think that the less earthly he is, the more spiritual he is.


That sin in its root is in the flesh, I entirely admit; but my position now is, that I have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in me, and He manifests Christ in me. We find that Christ, according to the will of God, has brought to an end, judicially, in His own death unto sin, the old man—and thus the believer is “not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (Rom 8:9): and the Lord Jesus Christ is the exclusive delight and object of the believer’s heart.


- J B Stoney





Excerpt from MJS devotional for Jan. 4:


“Has the Father led you into the desert? Has He plucked from under your feet all that you depended upon? Then a glorious experience is yours. See if this be not a way whereby God will glorify you! Do not complain about what you have lost, and do not yearn to have it back again, for then you are like Israel who wished to turn back to Egypt. God leads on, and instead of the flesh-pots He gives you bread from heaven, and instead of water from the Nile, water from the Rock.


“But you must put your trust in Him also in the desert, and through the days of darkness and difficulty. This is possible, however, only for those who have lost their self-assurance in the desert whereunto God beckons His children.”




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